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Sheppard Profile: Aircraft recycling

WICHITA FALLS - Like everything else, an aircraft can run its course, so what happens when it does?

The air force calls contractors. Logistics Support Manager, Tech. Sgt. Richard Wollman told us, "We have some contractors here disassembling the A-10 to be shipped off to a museum in Oklahoma." 

But a static display is not the only place these aircraft, all full of so much history, land.

Superintendent of Maintenance Squadron, Master Sgt. Steven Clinton said, "When an aircraft is retired, it's got two options. It can either go to the boneyard or we can accept it here and use it as a maintenance maintainer, even though it's not flyable anymore, we can still use it for training or maintenance." 

Each year nearly 45-hundred airmen come through Sheppard Air Force Base to learn how to become aircraft maintainers, and what better way to learn the ins and outs. 

"This one was probably used for crew chiefs so they've learned how to take the tires off, fix certain flight components or what not so instead of using it on a real active aircraft, we just use an old aircraft," Tech. Sgt. Wollman said. 

Master Sgt. Clinton continued to say that it's not every day the air force retires an aircraft. 

He told us, "This is a big event right now because we now have received a new A-10 in place that has better functions, better capabilities, newer aircraft so the maintainers training every day, they get the ability to learn the new stuff that actually out there flying right now." 

When an aircraft has logged enough time in the air, in some cases it rests its wings here, so these future maintainers are prepared for whatever comes their way.

Many retired aircraft are also used as jumper trainers in the army. Soldiers use the aircraft to learn how to parachute out of them. 

Next week, I'll tell you tell the story of an air force chaplain who left his successful career to do something he said he was called to do, serve in the U.S. Air Force. 

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